'Tis the season to finally plan your summerhouse, and the roof is one of the most important parts. Summerhouses are so tiny, adorable and useful – a little home away from home. They're too small for a kitchen or a washer and dryer, so when you finally get inside to stretch out and relax, you will not have any chores calling out to you. In fact, bringing your mobile out there, order a pizza and have them deliver it to you out back.
You can mail-order your summerhouse, or pick up a kit from the Home Depot, but be careful that you do not accidently get a shed, because these types of summerhouses are about the same size and shape of the building you use to store your lawnmower and rakes. A better option might be to plan it yourself, or, if you're not handy, consult with a building contractor.
Insulation Is the Way to Go
Your summerhouse will be used primarily in the summer – of course – so you want to make sure your roof reflects heat away from the structure so you do not feel like you're trying to relax in an oven. Use white or metallic roof tiles rather than black, and insulate to help keep the inside cool. If possible, put windows on at least two sides so that you can allow hot air to escape and breezes to blow through.
Insulation will do double duty for you at the end of summer as well, extending the time you can use your summerhouse into early autumn. If you have French doors that open up a big space at the front of your structure, you could even put a portable fireplace there to keep warm when it gets chilly. Make sure you locate it on top of stone or earth and not wood decking, to avoid any fire hazards.
Summer is prime time for storms, sometimes violent ones. If your property is on a hill or wide-open space, your summerhome roof could have been damaged by high winds in a storm. If you lose shingles or roof panels, it's important to have them replaced right away to avert water seeing into your structure and setting the stage for wood rot.
Try Planting Your Roof
You will not have to worry about missing shingles, however, if you go with a green roof. Green roofs – roofs that hold living plants – are fun, beautiful and good for the environment. Make sure you plan ahead during the construction phase, however – all that soil is heavy and you want to make sure your roof can support it. Also, be sure to completely cover the roof with heavy plastic before installing any plants to fend off any water seepage. Some people take an extra precaution and add a layer of rubber as well.
Installing a green roof is not as simple as stacking trays of plants or scattering grass seed over topsoil. You need proper drainage matting, the correct soil and plants that will survive a season on your roof. It's best to consult a roofing contractor before embarking on a DIY green roof project, to make sure your plans are safe and that you will have something beautiful to show for all your hard work.
Not all summerhouses have walls, but they all have roofs, so before you get started, consult a trusted, local roofing contractor to make sure yours will protect your structure and its guests for years to come.